Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely , whatever is of good report, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, ponder on these things. - Philippians 4:8

Saturday, August 17, 2013


     “What a storm.” Randy said as he looked over the church lawn. One of the big trees had been blown down by the parking lot, there were branches every where you looked and even some of the shingles were strewn about the lawn. “We'll never get this cleaned up in time for Sunday.” Randy said shaking his head. “At least not without help.”

     As Randy started picking up branches and dragging them to the fire pit, he heard a load commotion coming from somewhere inside the church. Forgetting where he was going, Randy walked towards the building so he could hear what was going on. “HAROLD!! HAROLD!!” he heard someone yelling, “WHERE ARE YOU HAROLD!!” It was Martha Peterson.

     Not wanting to get involved Randy turned to go back to cleaning up the yard but he didn't get very far. “HAROLD, ARE YOU OUT THERE?” Martha yelled out the door and then headed towards Randy. “I'm not Harold” Randy called back. “I know that.” Martha snorted, “But have you seen him?” “No. I haven’t.” Randy told her, “But I sure could use his help. Look at this mess.”

     “I'm sure I saw him come this way!” Martha snapped. “Did you need him for something?” Randy asked as he grabbed at a pile of branches. “I sure did.” Martha stated. “Well, I would ask if I could help.” Randy said, “But I'm very busy.” “That's alright.” Martha growled, “It's Harold I want to kill, not you.”

     “WHAT???!!!” Randy exclaimed when he heard that, “You don’t mean that do you?” “Let’s just hope the Police find him before I do.” Martha growled, “He tied to burn down our garage.” “Now, calm down, Martha.” Randy told her, “When did he try to do it?” “Last night during the big thunderstorm.” Martha said, “And if it hadn’t been raining we wouldn’t have a house now.”

     “No wonder your upset.” Randy said, “What was he doing playing with matches?” “Who knows.” Martha said, “All I know is he came running down the stairs screaming fire.” “I didn't know your garage has stairs?” Randy interrupted. “It doesn't.” Martha told him, “He was in the house. “Huh?” Randy said with a puzzled look on his face. “If Harold was in the house how could he have set your garage on fire?”

     After thinking about that for a moment, Martha finally said “I don’t know. But if it happened it must have been Harold. And now I can't find him.” “Didn’t you say it happened during a big Thunderstorm?” Randy asked, “And did it ever occur to you that maybe lightning set your garage on fire?”

     After thinking about it some more, Martha said “Now that you mention it there was a bright flash and loud thunder just before he hollered fire. And there was a big hole in the roof like it had been struck by lightning.” “And you wanted to kill Harold for that?” Randy asked. “Well,” Martha said calmly, I guess he can live for now. I better get going though, I'm afraid if I stay any longer you'll put me to work. See you Sunday.”

      So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths. - Genesis 3:6-7 (ESV)
      Adam and Eve had just committed the first sin – one result of that sin was the expulsion from their home, the Garden of Eden. On their own they started having children, the first two being Cain and Able. As time elapsed and the boys grew up, Cain became a gardener and Able became a shepherd and …. In the course of time Cain brought to the LORD an offering of the fruit of the ground, and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. The LORD said to Cain, "Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it." Cain spoke to Abel his brother. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him. Then the LORD said to Cain, "Where is Abel your brother?" He said, "I do not know; am I my brother's keeper?" And the LORD said, "What have you done? The voice of your brother's blood is crying to me from the ground. And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood from your hand. When you work the ground, it shall no longer yield to you its strength. You shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth."
Genesis 4:3-12 (ESV)

     Both Cain and Able brought offerings to God. Abel's was accepted while Cains was rejected. Anger filled Cain and Able was killed. Cain was caught by God and punished to be a wanderer and the ground was cursed as well.

     Somebody once asked if any of the commandments applied to family. The answer was found in the 6th commandment - Exodus 20:13 You shall not murder. (ESV) Have you ever felt like killing a family member?

     Mark 7:21 tells us that murder originates in the heart - For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, (ESV)

     1 John 3:15 takes things a bit farther and says Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. (ESV)

     Revelation 21:8 adds even more to the last part of 1 John 3:15 in that it says But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death." (ESV)

     In Romans 13:9 Paul gives us an easy way to keep the 6th commandment and any others he said The commandments, "You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet," and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." (ESV)

      Here's Something To Ponder
  • If hating a brother makes you a murderer, are you a murderer?
  • Do you value life the way God values life?

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