Saturday, July 23, 2022

From 2009

I stumbled across this old blog from 2009 - didn't have a graphic so I did a screen shot of this 7/23/2022 @ 11:16 am strickly because of the first verse below and the current heat wave - where we are sitting under 89. Since the biblical message never changes, it is a small reminder that if we do certain things, God gives His response:



If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people; (2 Chronicles 7:13 KJV)
 

 He can, you know, and has done so. Examples abound where God says “If” and explains the “Then”. The next verse in Chronicles, is a favorite and comes with a tremendous promise: 

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14 KJV) 

Such is the gospel message: In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; (Ephesians 1:7-8 KJV) 

 This is what Christ sent His followers to do: 

And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick. And they departed, and went through the towns, preaching the gospel, and healing every where. (Luke 9:2, 6 KJV) 

If the message is received, then …? If it is not? 

And whatsoever house ye enter into, there abide, and thence depart. And whosoever will not receive you, when ye go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet for a testimony against them. (Luke 9:4-5 KJV) 

Again, when He sent the seventy, the instructions were similar: 

And if the son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon it: if not, it shall turn to you again. But into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you not, go your ways out into the streets of the same, and say, Even the very dust of your city, which cleaveth on us, we do wipe off against you: notwithstanding be ye sure of this, that the kingdom of God is come nigh unto you. (Luke 10:6, 10-11 KJV) 

If, however, His message is rejected, then shall come a terrible result: 

But I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable in that day for Sodom, than for that city. (Luke 10:12 KJV)

I'll add one more, almost everyone knows this anyway, but it's always a good reminder:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (John 3:16-18 KJV)

An awesome promise. Paul wrote what I think about this gift:

Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift. (2 Corinthians 9:15 KJV)

May God be with you as you read His word.

Forgiveness

 

“It’s a strange word, forgiveness,” he said. “I never really understood it until I studied Greek at the seminary. The Greek word in the Bible—aphiemi—means ‘to set free.’ When I heard that, I suddenly grasped what it was all about: forgiving is about freedom. It’s not just about pardoning the wrongdoer—it’s about releasing yourself from the power of what they did to you. Forgiving someone sets you free.”

That's a quote from "A Feather on the Water" by Lindsay Jayne Ashford. I finished the book this week, but this isn't a review of the book.

Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots. (Luke 23:34 KJV)

If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. (John 8:36 KJV)

And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. (Luke 11:4 KJV)

How do you forgive Dachau? Belsen Bergen? Ravensbrook? 

After we moved to Oklahoma in 1951, I ran across a black and white, glossy paper book, about 5"x7" that was nothing but photographs from concentration camps. The photo that first comes to mind is taken from a wall of an unnamed concentration camp overlooking a wide open flagstone area that women and children are running across. They were all running toward another building, all unclothed, women trying to cover themselves with their hands. 

They thought tthey were running toward showers. That was the reason given them to make them take off their clothes, but it was a lie. Every woman, every child, in that photograph taken by a German guard, would die in a room filled with zyklon B, the gas used at Dachau.

How does an individual forgive such atrocities? Corrie ten Boom told us in her book "The Hiding Place," and she showed us when she met a guard from Belsen Bergen. We forgive as we are forgiven. That frees us in such a way that we can actually pray for the soul of the person who did such terrible wrongs that are laid out in God's word, our Bible, and told to us by God's Word, His Son.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. (John 1:1-2 KJV)


Strong's G863 is ἀφίημι which is used 147 times in 133 verses in the New Testament (KJV) but not always as "forgive":

ἀφίημι aphíēmi, af-ee'-ay-mee; from G575 and ἵημι híēmi (to send; an intensive form of εἶμι eîmi, to go); to send forth, in various applications (as follow):—cry, forgive, forsake, lay aside, leave, let (alone, be, go, have), omit, put (send) away, remit, suffer, yield up.

When we forgive, we must send the hatred and fear away, forsake it, lay it aside, leave it alone, yield it up - mustn't we? Or we carry it with us. Absolutely appropriate actions when we forgive.

Isn't that what God gives us when we ask for His forgiveness? He accepts us as His children, joint heirs with His son:

For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: (Romans 8:15-16 KJV)

That is true, even if we find being His child causes differences at the least, suffering at the most:

And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. (Romans 8:17 KJV)

Never forget these verses were written by a former Pharisee, a Jew who believed his God, but neglected Him until he was searched out and questioned. The answer to that question changed Saul into Paul - how much can it change each one of us when we answer it:

And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? (Acts 9:4 KJV)

Again, from "A Feather on the Water":

“You would forgive them?” 
"I would.” 
"How? Why?” 
“Because if I didn’t, I would be the worst kind of hypocrite. I believe in a God who, twice a day, washes all the sands on all the shores of all the world. He makes every mark disappear—from the gaping hole dug by a spade to the footprints left by a gull.”

Friday, July 1, 2022

Religious? Or Faith In Christ?


I read a recent Fox News article regarding statements made by Chris Pratt and I, too, do not think I am a “religious” person. The article states: "Over the years, the actor has faced criticism for being associated with religion." It is a pattern of attack when non-believers has doctrinal issues with religious organizations. In this instances, Pratt is accused of associating with a church questioning the LGBT+ basic beliefs. By such an association, he faces cancel-culture - which can kill careers.

There are people who use “religious” as a description when they really are describing a person of faith, not a person who is virtue signaling. 

When a person of faith relies on scripture, some use the “Bible thumper” pejorative to deny the value of scripture. There are church leaders who deny the importance of scripture even to the point of replacing it with current social value. 

What I am is a person of faith. I have faith in a number of things. Some apply to earthly things - such as my husband. I had faith in him when we married and promised each other to be faithful until death does us part. Now, sixty-one years later, I have the knowledge my faith was not misplaced. There is a story about our meeting, for another blog.

That is only one instance that affirms that faith is what operates within a person who is a follower of Jesus, Christ, Son of God, Savior, and multiple other factual titles.

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: (Ephesians 2:8 KJV)

Now there's the description of Christians - a follower of Christ, as defined in:

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 KJV)

Jesus taught his disciples, the disciples taught others, and the process has continued for over two thousand years. Along the way there were arguments. At this point, I think the majority of denominations still believe belief in Jesus remains a necessity:

And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. (Acts 16:30-31 KJV)

May I remind you again - don't stop at reading these singular verses I post. Ephesians 2:8 should definitely be read in context. The verse following explains why virtue signaling isn't a part of salvation at all. Oh, there needs to be works (again - read this in context):

Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. (James 2:17 KJV)

If you have a digital Bible, search with the two word "faith" and "work" with "search for all the words" selected.  With e-Sword you will find 15 specific verses, all in the New Testament. Disciples James and John wrote about it, along with Apostle Paul. I find Paul's verse here to explain a good deal why he changed from following Jewish Law as opposed to believing Christ in faith:

Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone; (Romans 9:32 KJV)

All of this says the focus should be on Christ, even when we are accused of being against what is socially and even legally acceptable today. There are boundaries within love. Here are two examples I use often:

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (Matthew 22:37-40 KJV)

Now take a look at 1 Corinthians 13 - the chapter defining what love is, and isn't. Start this time with:

Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; (1 Corinthians 13:6 KJV)

Just as doctors are promising to "do no harm," love cannot support iniquity, Greek ἀδικία defined by Strong's as: 

(legal) injustice (properly the quality, by implication the act); moral wrongfulness (of character, life or act): - iniquity, unjust, unrighteousness, wrong.

It does not stop with legal injustice, though removing injustice is a human necessity to protect other humans. It includes moral wrongfulness as well as a person's character. Often we speak of getting to the heart of a matter, for thousands of years actually, since David made a specific request of God when he recognized his sinfulness:

Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. (Psalms 51:9-10 KJV)

That's what the Bible offers. God remains the same - even today. Please do not cancel Him by ignoring Him and His word. Follow some good advice that takes a good dose of faith:

Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: (Isaiah 55:6 KJV)


Thursday, June 30, 2022

Nature At Work

 


Isn't that a beautiful hickory tree? Unfortunately, it no longer resides beside a friend's home. A summer storm removed this beauty that was so loved in the fall when it gilded the sky, in the spring when new leaves replaced winter's stripped limbs, and in the summer when it shaded their drive. This summer brought a storm that pointed out several natural occurences that show similar things in our own lives.

The Preacher wrote about seasons:

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace. (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 KJV)

The above beautiful season announceer was over a hundred years old, sitting beside its house with a sister tree. Its sister showed signs of rot and decay, and was professionally removed several years ago. This tree remained for decades following that loss, no outward signs of inward decay until one windstorm. As the owner put it: "But this tree had withstood so many windstorms in its 100+ years of life that we never dreamed it was in that much a state of decay." The owner added: "(There is a sermon in all that which I will write someday!)" I hope to hear that sermon, as I have others from this pastor.

It might speak of decay within a church in which the leaders could almost match Jesus' descriptive words in Matthew 22 - here's a small example:

Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness. (Matthew 23:24-27 KJV)

Sadly, there are many who attend such congregations, led by men more interested in the traditions of men than reaching out to our Father, who asks that we walk with Him:

He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? (Micah 6:8 KJV)

Jesus also filtered God's commandments into two small items. It was a "gotcha!" question from a lawyer who - obviously now - did not know the answer:

Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (Matthew 22:35-40 KJV)

If you happen to belong to such a congregation whose leaders have forgotten God's commandments, substituting mankind's traditions for these two commandments, you may find yourself a bit lost as a bird the morning after the tree fell, as my friend wrote:

"I looked out the window and saw a little bird and it was flying really erratically and kind of circling right in the area where the tree had been only hours before. It was acting so strangely that I am convinced it had a nest in the tree and it could not figure out where the tree went. T**** said he saw a nest in the tree and he didn't know if there were eggs in it or not . . . That has bothered me ever since I saw it because a little bird could not figure out why its home had disappeared apparently."

When church leaders fail congregations, we can feel as lost as that bird. Everything we worked for disappears and the even the ground beneath our feet doesn't feel solid. Trust me, it isn't. Our earth moves, shifting mountains, moving rivers, spilling lava every once in a while. 

No matter the trappings of ministry, the decorations of the sanctuary, the design of the tabernacle, God remains as He was when He walked with Adam and Eve in the Garden, when He made promises to Abraham, when He kept David from building the Temple, when He called Andrew and Peter to a life of fishing for men.Whether Jew or Christian, the two commandments have not changed.

God's love for the people in this world has not changed. He provided a simple way to reach Him. There will come a time when we are not able to do so:

Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: (Isaiah 55:6 KJV)

When you are as church homeless as that small bird circling above the tree, pray our Lord sends you to a church where the Bible is the foundation of sermons, the pastor references the Bible when making decisions, where the congregation is reaching out in a variety of ways to reach people with the gospel - the good news that God loves them and sent His only begotten Son to arrange for our adoption as joint heirs with Christ. Isn't that God's nature at work?





Monday, June 13, 2022

The Son of Man is The Son of God

 


In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. 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 1:1-14 KJV)

That is most likely the longest scripture I've posted. I usually post a verse and ask you to read on your own around it to see if I've taken it out of context. This post was created because a man who calls himself a follower of Jesus Christ, accepts the name Christian, but believes that Jesus is the "Son of Man" and that He never stated He was the "Son of God."

Others said He was, succinctly:

And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God. (John 1:34 KJV)

You can read the verses before that to learn the speaker was John, called the Baptizer. He knew because God had told him:

And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water. And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. (John 1:31-33 KJV)

Martha confirmed her belief that He was the Son of God:

Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world. (John 11:25-27 KJV)

But what did Jesus say about Himself:

When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 16:13-17 KJV)

The Jews understood exactly what Jesus was saying, and hated Him for that:

The man departed, and told the Jews that it was Jesus, which had made him whole. And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day. But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work. Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God. (John 5:15-18 KJV)

Check out the remainder of that chapter where Jesus discusses the authority of the Son of God. Or, hear what Matthew had to say about God's affirmation that Jesus was His Son:

While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him. And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid. (Matthew 17:5-6 KJV)

There are many more scriptures, but I'd like to end with Paul - who not only supported the crucifixion of Jesus, but stood by and supported the death of Stephen (Acts 7:54-60.) What did Paul eventually say about Jesus:

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. (Philippians 2:5-8 KJV)

Let me close with the message Paul included in all of his writings, different words, but always the answer to this one question the jailer asked Paul:

Sirs, what must I do to be saved? (Acts 16:30b KJV)

Read the Bible. Discover why Jesus is the answer.



Tuesday, May 31, 2022

What Do You Know About His Word?

 



I had a boomerang actually from Australia. It hasn't shown up since we packed for remodeling, but it used to make me think of a verse. Do some oddities make you think of specific verses? Totally unconnected, really:

So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. (Isaiah 55:11 KJV)

That reminds me that God doesn't specifically need me - or you - to see that His word gets out to other people. I know this because of another verse:

For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father's house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this? (Esther 4:14 KJV)

There are truths in each and every verse in the Bible, but they are better understood when taken in context. That's something I've stressed over the the years I've posted my thoughts on verses. You, yes - you, the one person reading this right now - you need to read the chapter these verses sit in so you will know who is speaking. The writers of the biblical books are varied by location, reasoning, messages, but all are inspired by our Lord for us:

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. (2 Timothy 3:16-17 KJV)

Excellent reference - but you should read more because knowing who Timothy was to Paul, who Paul was and why he was writing to Timothy, and why Paul wrote more books of the New Testament than anyone else.

Next in line as a prolific New Testament writer is John. He gave us testimony of what he saw walking around the Holy Land with Jesus. The world knows what Jesus said to Nicodemus:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16 KJV)

Here you need to know who Nicodemus was, why he was asking questions of Jesus. It would also be good to know what he asked and Jesus said:

Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be? Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things? (John 3:9-10 KJV)

Do you know the Ten Commandments given to Moses on Mount Sinai? Find them here and read Exodus 20:2-17. Or in Deuteronomy 5:6-21. Or even Leviticus 19:3-4, 11-13, 15-16, 30, 32 - but getting a complete link was difficult. You are on your own looking up those verses.

You don't have to go to Matthew - or read any one of dozens of my blogs with these verses - to know what Jesus said about the Commandments:

Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (Matthew 22:36-40 KJV)

Did you know that before? Did you know Christianity believes these two are necessary to show that we have done what was needed to be saved? In addition to John 3:16 above, scriptures include what is necessary:

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9 KJV)

Showing our faith is necessary. James included why we do works:

Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. (James 2:17-18 KJV)

But those works come because we love God and our neighbors. Salvation comes first - as it did to the thief on the cross. And to a jailer who asked, and Paul answered with words and works:

And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway. (Acts 16:30-33 KJV)

That is salvation simplified. It does not address growing in the Lord's desires for your life in relationship with mankind. That takes Bible study, which translates into looking beyond the one or two verses I've included above. It takes reading those verses in context to who was speaking/writing, what was going on around them, what God said before - and after. The Bible includes bad examples as well as good ones.  It also shows the results, the consequences, of the bad examples. Do not believe because the Old Testament allowed multiple wives and subjugation of of women that it was God's plan. That doesn't even fit Matthew 22:39, does it. Certainly doesn't fit:

And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. (Matthew 19:4-6 KJV)

I suggest starting with the King James Version - not the 1611 that is hard to read, but one published today - not a newer translation. KJV with multiple versions is a good study book - I have a four version, two on each page so that they are easily compared. Some from last century omit specific verses used for well over 400 years in English. Some of the deletions are very important. Know which ones in a singe glance with a four version. Be like the Bereans and study the Old Testament for Christ, too: Acts 17:10-13

Find out what faith is in Hebrews 11 then read the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John) to see the good works Jesus did. Follow up with the Acts of the Apostles, and their letters to churches. I assure you, it can take a life time of learning and doing what God has in mind for you - and me.

Just remember, He promises His word will not return to Him void. It will, through us, "prosper in the thing whereto I sent it." 

Saturday, May 28, 2022

Weeping For The Children - And More

 

Michelangelo's La Pieta

Thus saith the LORD; A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping; Rahel weeping for her children refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not. (Jeremiah 31:15 KJV)

Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not. (Matthew 2:17-18 KJV)

There was weeping for children, again, this week. And for their teachers. And for the husband of one teacher, who proved to us that broken hearts can kill. There are many articles regarding Takotsubo cardiomyopathy, also known as Broken Heart Syndrome. There is hope, if the patient is treated for a heart attack in time.

We've all been weeping - and politicizing, and debating, and outright arguing over "Why," "How," "What can be done," "Why does this keep happening"? Those questions have been asked for years - and if an accurate accounting is needed, click here for incidents going back to 1764. The earliest of these have specific reasons. Including:

The first known mass shooting in the U.S. where students were shot, was on April 9, 1891, when 70 year old, James Foster fired a shotgun at a group of students in the playground of St. Mary's Parochial School, Newburgh, New York, causing minor injuries to several of the students. The majority of attacks during this time period by students on other students or teacher, usually involved stabbing with knives, or hitting with stones.

The deadliest mass murder of school children in the United States did involve one gun:

May 18, 1927 Bath, Michigan School treasurer Andrew Kehoe, after killing his wife and destroying his house and farm, blew up the Bath Consolidated School by detonating dynamite in the basement of the school, killing 38 people, mostly children. He then pulled up to the school in his Ford car, then blew the car up, killing himself and four others. Only one shot was fired in order to detonate dynamite in the car. This was deadliest act of mass murder at a school in the United States.

These acts were not condoned then, any more than the deaths of the Uvalde children are condoned. We do see more of these acts, though. You will also see "prayer was kicked out of schools" as a reason for this. I beg to differ with you, and agree with an article from Freedom Forum Institute:

It’s true that in the aftermath of the Engel decision, some school administrators took things too far by prohibiting constitutionally protected student religious expression. Of course, other administrators and school boards practiced civil disobedience by continuing school-sponsored religious practices in defiance of the Court’s ruling.

But in recent decades, most public school officials have begun to get religion — and prayer — right. They (finally) understand the difference between government speech promoting religion — which the establishment clause prohibits — and student religious speech, which the free-exercise and free-speech clauses protect.

Visit most public schools today and you are likely to see students praying around the flagpole, attending religious club meetings, giving each other religious literature, saying grace before lunch, talking about their faith in class discussions and in other ways expressing their religious convictions.

In fact, there is more student religious expression in public schools today than at any time since the 19th century. Far from being “kicked out,” God goes to school today through the First Amendment door.

My question to my readers has to do with personal convictions, not what our different levels of government did or did not do. Have you done this in your home:

And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. (Deuteronomy 6:7 KJV)

And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. (Deuteronomy 11:19 KJV)

As we learn the background of each of the shooters, there appears to be a lack of stable family units as well as societal difficulties for each one. We cannot write laws that will ensure this will not happen again. No amount of legal action will stop the next person intent upon killing. Removing every gun in this country would only change the weapon used.

The first murder in the Bible is described without naming a weapon:

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. (Genesis 4:8 KJV)

We don't know the subject nor wording of their conversation, but we do have what God had just said to Cain:

And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? 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. (Genesis 4:6-7 KJV)

The error was not Abel's. The anger was definitely Cain's. And, God's punishment was not death, but separation from God. We do not have to live with that separation simply because Jesus died on the cross. However, we can remain separated from God without loving Him and praying to Him.

Are you praying with your loved ones, adult and children, to keep a close relationship with God? In the King James Version New Testament, there are 135 verses with a form of the word "prayer." In the Old Testament, the count was 275.

Seems to me that as God inspired the writers, prayer was very important. Pray - everywhere, any time, any place, but especially with children. Let us not be among those who fail to show God's love and continuity.