“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)
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.
Oftentimes, when we read the Bible, we do so with our mind somewhere else. For example, how often have we read The Beatitudes with our thoughts truly centered on the meaning of those words. Today, I decided to center my devotional upon one scripture, separated from The Beatitudes and viewed in detail according to the scriptures. For this purpose, I chose:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
Matthew 5:3 — Holy Bible: New Testament (KJV)
Matthew and Luke present scriptures that say something a bit different from the other–even though both are relating a scripture from the beginning of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. While Matthew (above) refers to “. . . poor in spirit . . .,” Luke, in chapter 6 and verse 20, says:
And He lifted up His eyes on His disciples and said, ‘Blessed be ye poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.'”
Luke 6:20 — Holy Bible: New Testament (KJV)
Granted, most who are poor are also poor in spirit because the poor are usually the downtrodden, those who are accustomed to doing without. When a poor person does without, there is usually no repercussions to anyone for allowing this to be–no one suffers other than the person who is poor. Thus, both presentations are correct. One does not detract from the other.
I decided to see what the Old Testament (Old Covenant) says about the “poor” or the “poor in spirit.”
For all those things hath mine hand made,and all those things have been, saith the Lord; but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.”
Isaiah 66:2 — Holy Bible: Old Testament (KJV)
Here, God–Himself–acknowledges that the poor person is much more likely to “fear the Lord” and strive to live according to the Lord’s word. The wealthy are typically much more inclined to focus upon the fortune amassed and the means necessary to keep it. However, being poor by itself does not grant an eternal home with God. Rather, God said, “. . . even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at My word.”
If we are contrite in spirt, God is able to mold and shape us according to His will. Thus, the “poor” must also be “poor in spirit.” He or she must have “a contrite spirit and tremble at [His] word.” Here, I must ask myself: Do I have a contrite spirit? Do I tremble at God’s word? Even if I think the answer is “Yes,” I must study on it to know the truth. The Beatitudes are a small portion of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, which tells us “the spirit” of those who will go to heaven. How often–when we recite these in worship services–do we look at ourselves to determine if our spirit is right with God?
In Luke 18: 9-14, Jesus tells a parable regarding differences between the haughty, self-righteous man and one with a contrite heart.
9 — “And He spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:”
10 — “Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.”
11 — “The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself: God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.”
12 — “I fast twice in the week. I give tithes of all that I possess.”
13 — “And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.”
14 — “I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”
Thus, Jesus said, those who are haughty in spirit will be least in heaven–if they even make it there–and those who are of a contrite, repentant spirit will be in heaven.
Have we ever TRULY REPENTED of something specific we have done? Have we talked to God about it as if He were a long-lost friend whom we had wronged and were begging their forgiveness?
Each of us has, or have had, something for which we should repent with such a spirit! Others may not be aware of this sin, but WE ARE! WE know what we have done, and we know it is wrong–even if it is not wrong in the eyes of man. Are we willing to humble ourselves as this publican did–as the apostle Matthew must have done? Matthew was a publican when Jesus called him to be His disciple. Have we ever declared ourselves to be a sinner” because of our sin whether it be past or present? The cleansing such a prayer provides is beyond the imagination of most.
Reading on in the same chapter, Luke 18: 15-17,
15 — “And they brought unto Him also infants, that He would touch them; but when His disciples saw it, they rebuked them.”
16 — “But Jesus called them unto Him, and said, ‘Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not; for of such is the kingdom of God.“
17 — “Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.”
Infants have no sin. They are pure of heart. If they do wrong, they do not realize it is wrong, thus it is forgiven. Jesus goes on in Luke chapter 18 to show that even those who have done good all their lives may be lacking what it takes to make it into God’s kingdom and into heaven. The parable of the ruler shows how a “good person” may not have a “contrite spirit.”
Luke 18: 18-25
18 — “And a certain ruler asked him saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
19 — “And Jesus said unto him, ‘Why callest thou Me good? None is good, save one, that is, God.”
20 — “Thou knowest the commandments. Do not commit adultery. Do not kill. Do not steal. Do not bear false witness. Honour thy father and thy mother.”
21 — “And he said, ‘All these have I kept from my youth up.'”
22 — “Now when Jesus heard these things, He said unto him, ‘Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven, and come, follow me.”
23 — “And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful, for he was very rich.”
24 — “And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, He said, ‘How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!”
25 — “For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.”
From an early age, this parable was powerful to me. I began sewing by hand at about the age of seven or eight. So, I knew how tiny is the eye of a needle! I knew, if this man had been good all his life, yet lacked the contrite spirit required to be a child of God, I must change my ways. For, while I rarely disobeyed, I was far from sinless; and it was time I look that sin in the eye.
There have been times throughout my life when I had to look deep into my soul and come face to face with God about something I had done which was keeping me apart from Him. My prayer, now, is: if anyone reading this devotional has been pricked in the heart and has need for a session of supplication unto you, God–give him or her the strength to humble self before you.
Here in the United States, we are beginning to see the first days of spring–signs of “life renewed,” which has been our subject today. Not all days here are pleasant–some reap harvests filled with pain. On those days, I try to remember–“This, too, shall pass. — Anonymous.
I hope, wherever you are, you can–at least–enjoy some of the weather bestowed upon you. Blessings!
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.”
26 — “Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”
27 — “Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.”
28 — “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”
29 — “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.”
30 — “Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified, and whom He justified, these He also glorified.”
31 — “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”
32 — “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?”
33 — “Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.”
34 — “Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.”
35 — “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?”
36 — “As it is written: ‘For Your sake we are killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.'”
37 — “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”
38 — “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers nor things present nor things to come,”
39 — “nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Source: Holy Bible, New King James Version (NKJV).
In the eighth chapter, twenty-eighth verse of his letter to the Romans, the Apostle Paul tells us to keep uppermost in our mind the promise: “all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”
Oftentimes, we tend to become discouraged by all the negatives in our lives, and we might complain there are not enough positives happening. The past year is one of the times this might be more apt to occur. Is this something you struggle with? Are you discouraged by all that has happened to you, your loved ones, your family, and your country during the past year? If so, you are not alone. Many others struggle with the same spiritual ailment. Furthermore, it is not a new trial faced by modern-day Christians. It has been here since the inception of Christ’s life on earth and before.
When we are tempted by Satan or one of his many demonic slaves, we can rest assured that nothing they do can harm our soul–unless we allow it. There is an old saying my Mama often quoted: “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me,” (Anonymous). As many have pointed out, words can and do hurt, often for a lifetime. However, Paul is telling the Romans, “If you are one of those who have been called according to His purpose, Jesus life, death, resurrection, and ascension offers hope for life after death through Him becoming “sin”–all of the world’s sin–and the sacrifice of His life in place of ours. All who hear His calling, obey His commands, and continue in His Light have this “hope,” and those who abide in His Way can be assured of eternal life with Him and God the Father.
When we mess up, if we have heard and obeyed the requirements He sets forth in the New Testament, Christ and the Spirit make intercession for us with God the Father. Christ determines who is abiding Him and who is not. If I abide in His Way unto death, I not only have the hope of that gift, He assures me I will receive that gift, and I will be in heaven after I die. If I know I am abiding in Him, I no longer have to hope for eternal life, I can know I will receive it–I can “see” it.
I am not perfect. I make mistakes. I am a sinner. Because of my sin, I deserve eternal damnation, not eternal life with God and Christ. When I sin, I have the assurance, as God’s child, Christ will make intercession and insure that sin is wiped from my slate IF I repent of that sin and go back to living the way He has instructed. He also has assured me–as Paul states in Romans 8:28–I can know that whatever happens to me in “this life,” it all works together for my good.
Each trial and tribulation we endure–and remain in Him as we endure–works with all other events in my life for my good. If I learn from my mistakes, I can also learn from the mistakes of others. I can ask (pray) for guidance when I do not know what I should do in a specific situation. He will guide me to the answer in some way. I may read the answer in something I come across. I may hear someone talking and “say” the answer even though that person is talking to someone else. I can even “know” His will by the fact that I have no choice as to what I do. Someone or some statute tells me what I “must” do. Even when what I am doing appears to be sin to others, if I learn from it and address it through prayer, He makes intercession for me. If the prophets of old were hindered from attending tabernacle by being cast into a dungeon–or by some other means–it was not held against them when they addressed it through prayer to God.
Again, whatever life throws at us, we can know it will work to our ultimate good if we abide in the way Christ set forth. No one else can do it for me, and no one else can offer me forgiveness for my sin unless that sin involved that person in some way. We can rest in peace with the assurance that everything we experience and endure will work together for our good. This is faith in His promise. He said it–albeit through His apostle–but He said it; so, it is true.
God knew before we were ever birthed on this earth, what our response would be to His calling. He is omnipotent. He was, and is, and always will be. His Son is basically His apology to mankind for not having a plan for “all” to be forgiven and live eternally with Him in heaven.
I, personally, appreciate His sacrifice. What more can one do to let another know he/she loves that person? God’s Son died on the cross for MY SIN– not His sin–MINE! How can I ever justify not abiding in His Way? How can I ever “not” want to spend eternity with God and Jesus Christ?
If you heed Christ’s calling and obey the instructions He set forth, you too can be assured of your home in heaven. So, whatever happens here on earth–know there is a purpose for it in God’s great plan for things. Know, that everything will work together for your good, too–if you heed and abide in His Way!
In the book, Acts of the Apostles, chapter 10, verses one through five tell of Cornelius, an Italian centurion. He and his whole house were good people; they gave alms and prayed for guidance. Their faith and Christ-like actions came to God’s attention. As a result, God maneuvered events in Cornelius’ life so he and his house could know what they must do to be a part of Christ’s church and abide in heaven forever. Thus, Cornelius and his whole house immediately became Christians–in the middle of the night–and they became the first “Gentiles” to be added to Christ’s church.
Prior to this time, God’s plan of salvation had only been available to those of the Jewish nation. If a Gentile wanted to be the recipient of that salvation, he/she had to first become a part of the Jewish nation. Then they could be offered God’s plan. Christ’s birth, death, resurrection, and ascension changed this. He freely “gave” so that we might “freely live.”
So, if a person iis truly searching for answers, as we see in the example of Cornelius and his household, God will guide that person to the answers, or He will guide others to that person to provide those answers. Then, the choice lies with that person. He/She has the choice to obey or to reject Christ’s teachings. So, the choice that person makes determines their eternal destiny.
I pray that all will want to live with God and Christ in heaven throughout eternity. However, His Word tells me this will not be the case. Many will not believe or obey Christ’s teachings. Even so, I continue to pray all will obey Him.
My hope and prayer is that each of you will have a peaceful and blessed day amid all the turmoil in the world about you. Be Blessed and Stay Safe!