"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"

Luke 15:4-6

February 16, 2011


After re-reading last weeks devotional, I decided that what I had written was adequate, I had hit the high points and already wrote what needed to be said about the subject "to die is gain". At times I tend to over-write, which leads to rambling and veering from the main point. So I have decided to move on to a new topic this week. I apologize for the length of this week's devotional, but I felt that what I wrote was of great importance, and could find no good place to split it up. I went back over it, trying to find paragraphs to delete, but really couldn't find any. So please read with an open heart and indulge me, and next week I'll try to make the devotional shorter to compensate.

I began reading Genesis at the beginning of the year. I have read it several times, but this time I seem to be catching things that I had either overlooked or forgotten, and thinking about things I had never considered before. I want to write about Adam and Eve this week. We all know that Adam and Eve were the first man and woman that God created. We know they lived in the Garden of Eden until the serpent tempted Eve to eat of the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, then she in turn convinced Adam to eat of the fruit. They could eat from any other tree in the garden except that one, but God specifically told them not to eat of it or they would die. After eating they realized they were naked, so fashioned clothing out of fig leaves. As punishment, God drove them out of the garden and they were no longer allowed to live there; in fact, they couldn't even go back to visit. God set a cherubim at the garden entrance to guard it and put a flaming sword to guard the way to the tree of life. Adam now had to toil and work and Eve would bring forth children in pain.

We also know that they had two boys, Cain and Abel, and that Cain murdered Abel. Then lastly, we know they had another son named Seth.

In a nutshell, that's pretty much the story of Adam and Eve. We can all summarize it in a matter of a couple minutes.

But have any of us really given any in-depth thought about what life was like for Adam and Eve after they left the garden? I'm not sure we fully understand the anguish and sorrow they experienced when they realized the full import of what being banished from the garden, that God had specifically made for them to dwell in, truly meant. They went from living in a beautiful garden where they had all their needs met, had everything they would ever want or need, and had a daily visitation from God as He came down to walk with them and commune with them; to living in a place where everything was completely foreign to them. In the beginning, they had no need of clothing (they didn't realize they were naked), had no need to toil and work for their food (it was ripe for the picking, and perhaps their bodies didn't depend on it for nourishment), and were given a perfect place in which to live. But that split second when Eve surrendered to the temptation of taking a bite of the forbidden fruit, then Adam also partaking of it, drastically changed their entire world.

An example of them going from living in the Garden of Eden to living outside it's boundaries, is probably somewhat similar to what it would be like if we were suddenly taken from our homes and placed in a foreign country to live, without any warning. We wouldn't know the customs, we wouldn't know how to provide for ourselves, we wouldn't know where we were supposed to live or how to communicate. It would be absolutely terrifying. Having everything we have previously known suddenly taken from us and being required to make our home in a strange, foreign world would be extremely frightening. But at least we would have others to watch and learn from. Adam and Eve were completely alone and had to learn everything on their own. They had no one else to go to for guidance or help.

Adam didn't know how to plow a field or work and labor for his food. He didn't know how to build a house. He had never had to do that before. They had to have been completely terrified. Just as parents have to teach children how to do things and what different things are, Adam and Eve had to learn all that as adults. They no longer lived in the perfect paradise where God had created them, but were now forced to live in an imperfect place filled with toil, evil, and sin.

I have recently read a manuscript called "The First Book of Adam and Eve". It was believed to first be written down a few hundred years before the birth of Christ. And it is also believed to be a historical account of Adam and Eve that was passed down orally, from generation to generation, until someone finally wrote it down. As we know, many of the stories in the Bible, especially the Old Testament, were passed down by word of mouth until someone eventually wrote it down. For instance, it is believed that Genesis was written by Moses, who wasn't born until several hundred years after Adam. But he wrote down what had been passed on orally, as well as what records had been written down, what we know as Genesis in the Bible. The First Book of Adam and Eve details the life and times of Adam and Eve, after they were expelled from the garden to the time that Cain kills Abel. It is absolutely one of the most thought provoking and enlightening historical manuscripts I've ever read. It made me really consider what life was like for them after being expelled from the garden.

In it you read the deep sorrow and mourning that Adam and Eve feel over their sin. Time and time again they repent and weep over what they had done. They are completely lost outside the garden and have no idea what to do. Over and over again God speaks to them and either gives instruction or has mercy on them. They beg God to allow them to go back into the garden one last time, but He says no. Over and over again, Satan comes to try and deceive or tempt them. They remember how perfect life was in the Garden of Eden, and are filled with deep remorse over their sin. They weren't supernatural beings who automatically knew how to do everything and how to cope with living outside the gates of the garden. They were human beings dependent upon themselves now, and they felt utterly lost and hopeless.

Probably one of the most heart-rending chapter is when God tells Adam that He will suffer to save them from their sins. (Quoting from the manuscript) "God said to Adam, 'All this misery that you have been made to take on yourself because of your transgression, will not free you from the hand of Satan, and will not save you. But I will. When I shall come down from heaven, and shall become flesh of your descendants, and take on Myself the infirmity from which you suffer, then the darkness that covered you in this cave shall cover Me in the grave, when I am in the flesh of your descendants. And I, who am without years, shall be subject to the reckoning of years, of times, and of days, and I shall be reckoned as one of the sons of men, in order to save you.'"

Adam and Eve cried and sorrowed by reason of God's word to them, that they should not return to the garden; but mostly because God had told them that He should suffer for their salvation.

Genesis 3:15 promises God's plan for redemption. It prophesies of a spiritual conflict between the "seed" of woman (Jesus) and the "seed" of the serpent (Satan). God promised that Christ would be born of a woman and would be "bruised" through His crucifixion (bruise His heel). Yet, He would rise from the dead to completely destroy (bruise his head) Satan, sin and death for the sake of salvation of the human race.

I cannot imagine the deep sorrow and grief Adam and Eve felt when they heard that God would have to come to earth to suffer because of their sin. That one act of willful disobedience changed everything. It caused them to be driven from the garden and have to live in a world filled with hardship and evil; and then they find out that God, Himself, would come to earth to suffer so that mankind could have salvation for their sins.

Then when their son, Cain, killed his brother, the consequences of their sin must have once again been at the forefront of their minds, as they grieved and sorrowed, not only for the lost of their son, but over their own disobedience. Over and over again they were reminded of what they had given up for one moment of "pleasure". That split second of eating the forbidden fruit changed not only their lives, but the whole plan of God for all mankind. Yes, God did forgive them for their sin. But they had to live with the consequences for the rest of their lives. I'm sure not a day went by that they didn't think of and remember the garden that God had created for them to dwell in. And I'm sure that time and time again they begged God to please allow them to return. Daily, they lived with a deep rooted sense of sorrow for their disobedience.

Over and over again in the book, it speaks of Adam and Eve weeping and sorrowing over their sin. That one moment of pleasure was not worth the consequences. It may have tasted good at the moment and may have seemed to be insignificant. But God had specifically gave the instruction not to eat of that one tree; yet they listened to the serpent and were tempted into believing God didn't mean what He had said and wouldn't really follow through on His words: "If you eat of that tree, then you will die."

Sadly, there are many religions, theologians, teachers, TV personalities, and people in general that seem to take God's word with that same grain of salt. Over and over again Jesus speaks that the one and only way to come to God is through repentance of our sins and receiving the gift of salvation. The Bible also clearly states that only those who have done so will enter heaven. It doesn't say those who are good people, those who help others, those who give donations, those who lend a hand to their neighbor, or those who do good deeds will go to heaven. Works or being a good person won't get you into heaven. People don't want to believe that, and are being deceived into thinking salvation doesn't matter. You can sell everything you own and donate it to the poor, but that won't get you into heaven either. If salvation was solely based upon good works, then Jesus coming to earth and dying on a cross for our sins would have been totally useless and insignificant. Jesus offered up Himself and shed His blood so that we could be forgiven of our sins. It's only when we repent of our sins and ask for God's forgiveness that we can be assured of salvation. There's no other way to God. There's no other way to heaven. And regardless whether or not someone wants to believe it, the only other alternative to heaven is hell; there is no other in between place. Life doesn't end at the grave; that is only the beginning. For upon our death, that is when our eternity will begin. Our life upon earth is just a grain of sand compared to eternity.

God didn't create hell for people, but for Satan and his followers. He never intended for people to spend eternity there. Just as God never intended for Adam and Eve to live outside of His presence in the garden. But they chose to sin and disobey God's instructions. So He had to follow through on His word. It was never God's desire to drive Adam and Eve from the paradise He had created for their enjoyment. But through their will, they chose to give into temptation and disobey God's instructions.

I've heard it argued that God is love, therefore won't send anyone to hell. There's a key word in that sentence: "send". God doesn't send people to hell, they choose to disregard His word and think repentance and salvation is of no importance, therefore, they choose where they spend eternity. It's not a scare tactic that christians or the church uses. It's in the Word of God and written for all mankind to read. And those who blow it off or choose to disregard God's warning will one day find themselves begging God to give them one more chance to repent; only it will be too late. Just as Adam and Eve may have begged and pleaded with God for one more chance to enter the garden and redeem themselves, they were forbidden to do so. There were no second chances for them. They sinned, therefore, they had to pay the consequence. The scripture says that today is the day of salvation. Right now, as we live and breathe we are given the opportunity to choose salvation, but if we refuse or fail to do so, it will one day be too late. Once we die, there is no second chance.

I've heard rock stars and those in the secular world describe hell as a "party with all my friends". It definitely will be no party and there will be no laughing and fun times. It's a place of eternal darkness, burning fire, suffering, pain and never-ending torment. It's worse than anything our minds can imagine; and it will be forever, without end. This is not something people like thinking about; but that doesn't change reality. And it's more than just someone's personal "belief" - it's written in the Word of God for all mankind to read for themselves.

Adam and Eve learned the hard way that God keeps His word. They were tempted by the serpent to eat of the forbidden fruit and thought, "What will one little bite hurt?" But it was life changing. They were driven from the beautiful garden that God had created for them to dwell in, and were unable to re-enter. God never wanted to drive them from the garden, and I believe He grieved when He had to do so. But what kind of Father would He be if He didn't follow through on His word and carry out His promises?

If an earthly parent continuously makes ultimatums to their children, but never follows through on their word, then the child loses trust in that parent. They begin to think, "I can do whatever I want, and my parents don't care. They make threats but won't ever do anything about it." They discover that they have no boundaries or rules to follow. Their parent's words are just hot air and doesn't mean anything. But on the other hand, if a father or mother tells their child, "If you disobey and go against our rules, then this will be the consequence," then follow through on their word, that child will know their parent keeps their word and there will be repercussions if they choose to disobey. They will have respect for their parents and honor their word, because they know that it truly means something.

We tend to think that God doesn't really mean what He says; or at least that's how we act. "What will it hurt to just take a little bite of sin?" But God has clearly told us in His Word to repent of our sins and accept the gift of salvation, that was purchased when Jesus died on the cross and took our sin upon Himself, and we'll live forever in heaven; or refuse this gift, try to make it through life on our own good works, and hell will be our eternal destiny. He doesn't want to forbid us entrance to that heavenly garden that He has prepared for us. He doesn't want anyone to perish and spend eternity in hell. God doesn't send mankind to hell, we choose to go there by denying His Son and refusing to humble ourselves before Him and repent of our sins. He never created it for man; it was originally created for Satan and his angels. God's original plan was for all of His creation to live in heaven with Him.

Satan was once an angel in heaven. In fact, he was created perfect and beautiful. But he chose to lead a rebellion against God and many angels joined Satan, and a war in heaven resulted. Satan and his angels were cast out of heaven. 2 Peter 2:4 says, "God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness." In scripture, hell is described as a lake of burning fire, bottomless pit, a place of torment day and night forever and ever, outer darkness, wailing and gnashing of teeth; and worst of all, it will be total separation from God. This place was originally designed as a place for Satan and his angels. So the question is, how could a loving God commit His creation to such a horrible place of punishment? The fact is, "all have sinned", therefore, we all deserve punishment. But God through His great mercy and grace sent His only Son to provide a way of escape. Through the shedding of His blood, the price was paid to redeem us from our sin. But it's our choice whether or not to receive this awesome gift of salvation.

There is much that can be learned from Adam and Eve. God keeps His word. If we choose to ignore Him, then we'll suffer the consequences for eternity. No excuses. No ifs, ands or buts. That's the way it is; period. But if we will only choose to believe in Jesus, repent of our sins and accept salvation, then we are promised eternity in heaven. There's no in between, no other choice. "Choose you this day who you will serve, but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."


There's a comedy routine I've heard that paraphrases the story of Adam and Eve. It ends with Adam saying, "Yeah, but you just ate us out of house and home."

I tend to wonder about the smallest, and usually least important, details sometimes. I've often wondered if Adam blamed Eve for losing their place in the Garden. He did try to blame her when God came to ask them. It would be easy to hold it against her for the hundreds of years they lived afterward. But there's no mention of it. Perhaps they realized right off that you can't truly ask forgiveness when your heart is filled with unforgiveness. Jesus taught his disciples to pray, "Forgive us as we forgive those who sin against us."



(probably one of the best recipes I've ever used)

1/2 cup milk

3 slices bread

1 pound hamburger

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 tsp. Salt

1/4 tsp. Lawry's seasoned salt

Black pepper

1/4 cup minced parsley (if you don't have fresh sprinkle in some parsley seasoning)

2 eggs, beaten


3/4 cup ketchup

3 Tbsp. Brown sugar

1/2 tsp. Dried mustard

Preheat oven to 350. Pour the milk over the bread and allow it to soak in for several minutes. Place the hamburger, milk-soaked bread, Parmesan cheese, salt, seasoned salt, black pepper and parsley in a large mixing bowl. Pour in the eggs. With clean hands, mix the ingredients until well combined. Form the mixture into a loaf shape and place in baking pan. Lay bacon slices (uncooked) over the top, tucking them underneath the meatloaf (I completely covered the top and it was YUMMY). Next, make the tomato gravy. Pour the ketchup into a small mixing bowl. Add the brown sugar and dry mustard (I didn't have dry mustard so put in a squirt of yellow mustard). Stir the mixture until well combined. Pour half of the tomato gravy over the top of the meatloaf. Bake for 45 minutes, then pour the remaining tomato gravy over the meatloaf. Bake for an additional 10-15 minutes. You can make extra tomato gravy to use as a dipping sauce (I didn't find that necessary but thought it already had enough on it). Serve with mashed potatoes. This is really good -- and makes great meatloaf sandwiches the following day.


My two oldest nephews, Greg and Brian, had some "adventures" as boys. The brothers are only a little over 10 months apart in age, so were always into something. Greg was generally the instigator and could talk Brian into trying things. When Mama was sick they lived close by and were around 7 and 8 years old at that time. They found an old metal barrel and Greg talked Brian into getting inside and letting him roll him down the hill. That was fun until the barrel rolled under an electric fence, which was turned on. Brian got quite a shock there for a split second as the barrel hit the fence; then it kept on rolling. Too late, Greg saw the barrel spark as it ran under the fence. Afterwards he and Brian came up to the house and didn't know whether to laugh or cry. They thought it was funny, but it had scared them a little, too.


Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body;

but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, and iced tea in the other,

body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming,

"WOO HOO, what a ride!


We love you!

Loretta & Jon